YHVH Rapha

He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” ex 15.26

Archive for hope

Use your words

It’s a simple little phrase we tell our two year olds with their emerging language skills. Recently I’ve started to wonder if this is the key to helping me, too.

Use your words.

While I’m not two years old (not even close), still i find myself in many frustrating situations. I’m not faced with having to tell a playmate or sibling “Please don’t take my toy away,” or “I want to read that book.” But I keep trying to remind myself that it’s way more appropriate to tell the kids, “Please help your sister pour the milk,” or “I need you to stay in your bed tonight,” than to be yelling when they don’t do what I want them to do.

With a houseful of kids, there are literally thousands of interactions daily between one kid and another, or one kid and a parent, that frustrate, irritate, and distress me. Simple frustrations pile up and become huge and yelling turns into screaming. (Though sometimes I start out extremely frustrated.)

Perhaps talking to my kids–using my words–would help alleviate some of my intense frustration, overwhelmingment (is that even a word? Guess it is now!), and anger with all this normal family friction.

Sigh.

This is rather embarrassing to admit. I’m an adult, I should know this stuff!

But I don’t. It sounds like a lame excuse, but I did not grow up in a house where this was discussed or practiced or taught. Heck, there wasn’t a lot of positive anything happening in my house growing up. I never had the opportunity to learn all these wonderful things that help kids grow up emotionally healthy and well-adjusted. (Just look at my siblings and me for proof of this.) I’ve begun to understand, how can I give my kids this thing that they need when I never learned it? Didn’t get it myself?

I want a mommy. Mine didn’t work out very well.

I guess I’ll settle for a counselor.

Which gets us to the positive side of things, I’m finally seeing my counselor again fairly regularly. (“Regularly” meaning once or twice a month.) My oldest and youngest are also in therapy. . . talk for the oldest, play for the youngest. I think it’s helping us all. (Though it does add to the busy-ness of life and time stress . . .) I’m amazed at the things I’m learning about parenting my children, positive ways to interact, helpful ways to talk with them when they are angry or distressed. I’m excited that now I can finally do something positive to deal with life and stress.

Wish I’d learned this, oh, say 13 years ago.

Wish I’d had this growing up.

It really, really hurts to think of all the heartache I could have saved my kids for all these years if I’d known and practiced these things.

I know I shouldn’t spend time grieving over what isn’t, wasn’t. I know I should just start here and now with what we have and be grateful that i can learn new, helpful parenting habits before my kids are grown and it’s too late.

Worth the read, twice over

Read this a few months ago.  Intended to blog about it, but time has gotten away from me.  (Story of my life.)

Nurse resentment and you are are never released and forgive your parents for the past or the past forever holds you, a permanent child.

I’ve got to figure out how to do this, how to honor the parent, because didn’t God promise that without that nothing else can go well?

Yes, yes indeed. But how?

among other things. . .

When you believe that everyone is always just doing their best, that we never war against flesh and blood but against the principalities, that in light of their own limitations, they truly are doing their best… this changes everything.

Interestingly enough, I’ve done this.  Helps to know I’m not perfect, can’t be perfect, am not supposed to be perfect. . . and neither is mom.  i have my limits and so did she then and now.

Diagnosed mental illlness helps too.

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And then there’s this one.  A little more recent.  Still much wisdom.

I keep my secrets tight and my secrets keep me tight.

We all  thought the secrets would save us…  but they slowly slay us.

I can show you my scars.

ouch.

And yet. . .

Because it’s keeping secrets that keep us from being real. From being fully alive.

Need to remember this.  This format, this blog, may be a great place to share my secrets without being condemned for them.

I will have to think about this more.

The Glass Castle

A friend recommended that I read this book.  So I borrowed it from the public library and it sat on the table for two weeks.  When I finally picked the book up and sat to read it, I devoured it in three days.  I had to force myself to put it down and even then the shock and horror of what I read stayed with me all day.  Language wise, it is an easy reading book.  But if you consider the implications of what Jeannette Walls has written, it was very difficult to read.

It is the story of her childhood.  She talks about her father, who spent the family’s money on alcohol, disappeared for days, and yet taught his children science and complex math.  She talks about her mother, who preferred painting to cooking, accumulated books and glass bottles and painting supplies, and didn’t bother with structure or schedules ; and yet, when three-year-old Jeannette burned herself cooking hot dogs, her mother was there in a moment to help her.

Jeannette talks about being hungry and having no food in the house, being shunned by other kids because of her body odor and dirty clothing.  She and her siblings relied on themselves and stuck together.  They were self-sufficient and resourceful.  They ate whatever they could find in the woods or even in garbage cans.  They worked hard to earn extra money not for food or nicer clothes, but to move to New York City where they thought they could live easier.

True, there were two very distinct periods in her childhood.  First were the early days of nomadic living, of sleeping in the car, making do with whatever they could find, and picking up in the middle of the night to move on.  The family worked together and they were happy. The later years of being stuck in a small West Virginia mining community were much more difficult.  By then Jeannette had grown up enough to see her parents’ faults.   And yet, she writes about them so lovingly.  And she and her siblings grew up and thrived in their lives.

I am constantly comparing myself to others and this book throws me way off.  On the one hand, I would say that my childhood was nowhere near as bad. We always had food to eat and clothes to wear.  And yet my struggles with self esteem, with who I am, and how I relate to others, the difficulties that I have . . . she does not have these.  So who really grew up abused?  And what constitutes abuse?  Is a parent who fails to provide for a child’s physical needs, yet attends to their emotional needs really abusing their children?  Once again I am left with the conclusion that emotional abuse is worse than physical neglect.

I found a you tube video about this book.  Jeannette Walls talks briefly about her childhood and the book.  I think that her last statement is very profound:

You could look at the glass castle as another one of my father’s drunken promises, or as hope for the future.   It is whatever you choose to make of it.

So maybe I need to re-think my childhood.  What things do I see as negative? Where is the benefit in them?

From broken to healed

Being a parent is a huge responsibility. You have this little child in your hands, their very heart and soul. It’s scary. If you make a misteak are you going to mess up this innocent child for the rest of his life?

And yet no parent is perfect. It’s just not possible to be. I guess that means that all children are messed up, some worse than others.

I hate to hear the news sometimes. A child molested. A child left in the trunk of a car. A child beaten. A child drowned. A child starved. Life is cruel and children get hurt. No matter what the parents do, it’s the kids who suffer for it.

So I think of my pain and past and there’s just no comparison. So what if my mom was nasty and mean. I should be able to shrug it off and go on. Who cares that she demanded perfection and wasn’t content with my best work at school or at home. At least I walked away from it. I survived, I lived through it, get on with life.

Then why do I treat my husband the way that she treated my father? And why do I find her words coming out of my mouth when I am angry with my children. And then I cringe for them, I remember how I hated her for how she treated me–and yet this is what I do to my very own, very precious children.

Sometimes I’ve wondered if I could have this surgically removed. I don’t know how to get rid of it. This whatever-you-want-to-call-it that I can’t get past in relating to my family.

Psalm 147.3: He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

Count me in that number, those broken in heart.  I need to be healed from something, I don’t even know what.

Welcome to my journey

In the days to come I want to share memories. Sad ones, angry ones. There are many of these. A few happy ones.

I am looking for hope, healing. Maybe you can find this with me.